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Most memorable TV series episode


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#1 of 46 Hollywoodaholic

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Posted December 14 2007 - 07:09 AM

Think back. Maybe to last week; maybe 40 years ago. You're watching an episode of perhaps your favorite TV series, or a brand new series, or just randomly tuning in. And there it is ... a story, a character, an actor, an idea, a visual, an opening theme, a moment ... that locked you in, and changed the way you view television and made you a fan forever.

Here's mine:

1963. The first season of the original science fiction series The Outer Limits. An episode called "The Architects of Fear" by a writer named Meyer Dolinsky. The premise of the episode: A group of prominent scientists worried about the nuclear destruction of the Earth from war-mongering nations and cultures unable to get along. They come up with a brilliant scheme: Create a common fear for ALL nations of the Earth that would unite people in their fear rather than divide them by it. They pick straws. A Scientist loses (Robert Culp). He will spend the next few months being transformed into a scarecrow - a lab-created alien from another world, who will land in a spaceship, go to the United Nations and threaten the world, thereby scaring the nations of the Earth into cooperating against a common threat. People pull together during disasters or common threats. It HAS to work.

Of course the moment he lands off course, he's shot by hunters and makes his way back to the lab to die only to run into his wife, who was told he had been killed in an auto accident. She screams at the sight of the monster. But then he makes a gesture only she can recognize and she suddenly realizes that this is her husband. He dies. And his fellow scientists try vainly to explain to her what they were trying and failed to do.

Okay, I'm eight years old watching this show and I am blown away. I never would have conceived this medium could have been used for anything so powerful, so dramatic, so in your face, so moving (and still have a very cool monster). From that moment on I truly believed in the power of the medium to express stories and ideas that, potentially, could change the world. Or, at the very least, entertain the hell out of us.

And here we are 45 years later in a world still ruled by the fear-mongers. By people still creating a boogie man to pit one country or culture against another instead of trying to find what could commonly unite us. So when I see this group of scientists from countries around the world this week getting together in Bali to discuss apocalyptic climate change, I can't help but think back to this television episode all those years ago. Maybe the crisis isn't so severe, maybe it's all a big hoax like some people want us to believe. But what's wrong with the idea of a COMMON threat that might unite the Earth in some powerful changes in the way we live our lives, do our business, and treat our planet? If it all IS just another big scarecrow, so what? If that's the only thing people respond to, and the end result has a positive effect on our fragile planet and people, what's the down side?

Okay, so maybe I'm just an idealist, a pacifist, a bleeding heart, a dreamer ... but if so, the dream began on a Friday night in black & white listening to the "control voice" some 45 years ago.

So what's your episode, your show? It doesn't have to be anything quite this ... Earth-shaking, it could be something as simple as, well, your first moment of lust (Barbara Eden), or the moment you discovered exactly what makes you laugh your *** off (Monty Python).

Think back. And remind us why we're all here on this forum again.

#2 of 46 JamesSmith

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Posted December 14 2007 - 09:13 AM

One of those moments was Magnum PI's "Did you See the Sunrise?" For those who don't know--it ended with Magnum confronting the villain (who had diplomatic immunity) and in the last second turning around to the camera and a freeze shot as he shot and killed the baddie in cold blood with the echos of the gunblast reverbating as the screen faded.

Here was a hero who did something "bad" as our American society defined it. He had killed the villain in cold blood. Even though, Magnum had been told (by above baddie) that he could never attack someone unarmed and kill him.

Yet he did.

The show rarely mentioned that moment again, but there were consequences later on the in the latter seasons. I did wonder if Magnum struggled with what he had done at night. But again, the show never did bring that up.

I asked some viewers what they thought of that ambigous moment. Some said Magnum was wrong (but they never mentioned if he should go to jail, others thought he was right).

Years later, Crocker on Miami Vice did something similar to a drug lord who had used Crocker to get him out of prison and eventually killed Crocker's wife.
While this didn't have the originality when Magnum did it, I wondered if our society had crossed the line as well, when our heroes start doing the same.

There are other moments. But I wonder if they're worth dignifying by mentioning here.


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#3 of 46 Lou Sytsma

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Posted December 14 2007 - 09:44 AM

City on the Edge of Forever.
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#4 of 46 Hollywoodaholic

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Posted December 15 2007 - 06:23 AM

The great science fiction writer Harlan Ellison never had great luck with television faithfully adapting his work, but he did write the original Star Trek episode that will live forever.

The recent DVD Star Trek Fan Collective - Captain's Log contains this episode as William Shatner's favorite, and also features recent interviews with both him and Joan Collins reminiscing about making it. "The City On the Edge of Forever" is definitely television at it's finest. Great choice!

#5 of 46 BobSchneider

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Posted December 15 2007 - 12:03 PM

Well just one? I have to say the magnum PI episode "have you seen the sunrise is a episode that holds up to repeat viewings and each time I watch it (as when I first saw it when I was in high school) I though magnum was totally justified in killing east german col at the end of the episode (just as donald b did) but it was by tv standards a shocking but real life ending to the episode. For me the Outer Limit episode that blew away was robert duval episode the Chameleon, when I saw that for the first time in grade school it blew me away, Behold Eck, the first episode Glaxacy Beging, there were so many fun cool though provoctiving episodes of the first run of Outer Limits (not the god awful color Outer soft porn) if you over look the cheesy now but, then state of the art special effects the orginal outer limit has alot of great episodes hard to pick just one.
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#6 of 46 Firebee

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Posted December 16 2007 - 01:11 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou Sytsma
City on the Edge of Forever.

Awesome episode! Ironically, this is the episode picked by Shatner in the ``Star Trek: Captain's Log'' collection. Nice interview with him and Joan Collins before the episode.

Errrm, so I'm echoing Hollywoodaholic Wayne Carter's post from above. Posted Image
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I also have not enough time to watch all of these DVDS:

http://www.invelos.c....aspx/fire26bee

#7 of 46 Sky King

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Posted December 16 2007 - 09:51 PM

Even though I agree that "City On The Edge Of Forever" is an awesome "Star Trek" episode, I'd have to say the "Opie The Birdman" episode of "The Andy Griffith Show" is the most memorable for me.
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#8 of 46 Joseph Bolus

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Posted December 17 2007 - 02:03 AM

As a Star Trek fan, I agree that "City on the Edge of Forever" was the episode that forever cemented into my brain that it was possible for a 50 minute TV show to equal the entertainment provided by a well-produced major Hollywood motion picture. Oh, sure: The production values were not as good as a major motion picture; but in all other respects it was more than competitive. In addition to being a terrific science fiction show it also had elements of human pathos, comedy, romance, and tragedy. All in a little over 50 minutes. To this day, it still makes my head spin!

To me, there has only been one other single episode of an episodic TV series that approached those dizzying heights: The Moonlighting episode "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice". This episode features not one but two(!) black and white film noir production sequences. One was played straight and the other was an unabashed parody of noir in particular and black and white films in general. With an introduction by Orson Welles (filmed just days before his death) combined with tremendous period production values; two awesome song productions; and style out the kazoo; the episode leaves you breathless, dazed, and muttering the phrase "Too good for TV" over and over ...
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#9 of 46 michael_ks

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Posted December 17 2007 - 04:05 AM

Quote:
Think back. Maybe to last week; maybe 40 years ago. You're watching an episode of perhaps your favorite TV series, or a brand new series, or just randomly tuning in. And there it is ... a story, a character, an actor, an idea, a visual, an opening theme, a moment ... that locked you in, and changed the way you view television and made you a fan forever.

Nice post, Wayne. I enjoyed reading your musings on "The Architects of Fear", one of the many great episodes to OL. Some of my very favorite and highly memorable episodes include:

1. "Demon With a Glass Hand" (The Outer Limits)
2. "City on the Edge of Forever" (Star Trek)
3. "The Lonely" (The Twilight Zone)
4. "Nightmare at Northoak" (The Fugitive)
5. "Submarine Sunk Here" (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea)
6. "Superstition" (Kung Fu)
7. "Robot Spy" (Jonny Quest)
8. "The Condemned of Space" (Lost in Space)
9. "Gomer the Welsh Rarebit Fiend" (Gomer Pyle, USMC)
10. "The Brother-In-Law" (The Rifleman)

#10 of 46 Mark Talmadge

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Posted December 17 2007 - 08:07 AM

Bones Season 2 Episode 18, The Killer in the Concrete.

Now, I don't watch television anymore and all of my television viewing comes from DVD's and I decided to give Bones, the television series, a try and I fell in love with the series.

This episode, I felt, was a very touching episode where we see a very determined Dr. Temperence Brennan as she attempts to find Seeley Booth, who has captured by the mobster, Gallagher. The whole scene as Dr. Brennan is racing to the building in her car, along with her father, as Seeley is being tortured.

The song that the producers of the series had chosen for this scene, Keep on Tryin' by Poco, was perfectly chosen for this scene and I couldn't help it and I got all sentimental over this scene. I thought it was very touching as it showed the type of character that Dr. Brennan has become throughout this series.

#11 of 46 Dion C

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Posted December 17 2007 - 08:10 AM

Great posts!

I have to say, the single most memorable and impressive episode of television, one that has stuck with me through the years, is E.R.'s "Love's Labor Lost." From the first season, I think. Devastating.

Also, from my youth, the one television memory that sticks with me and takes me back to my youth is the opening credits to "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." When Mary throws her hat into that cold winter air in downtown Minneapolis. They freeze on that image, and there is that old lady in the background, scowling at Mary.

I always remembered her, and I still wonder if she ever recognized herself, or if friends pointed it out to her. (I'm assuming somewhere along the way she learned of her appearance.) Who was she? What was she thinking? What ever became of her?

I still wonder these things. Good grief, I'm a mess. LOL
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#12 of 46 Tom_Tagliente19

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Posted December 19 2007 - 07:00 AM

FALCON CREST: Stormy Weather - A thunderstorm traps everyone at Falcon Crest making Angela the unwilling hostess for the unwanted guests. When Emma developes a murder mystery game everyone lets down their hair and gets in on the act. But, when the game becomes reality at midnight, Richard becomes the prime-suspect.

FALCON CREST: Last Dance - Melissa is finally rewarded for her long-lasting battle with Angela Channing when she uses the information Chase left her in his will, to claim what was once the Agretti family's birthright. A figure in the shadows which could either be Chase or Richard, listens to Angela say, "When are you going to tell Maggie you're alive?"

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: Baltar's Escape - Baltar leads a deadly revolt aboard the GALACTICA after breaking out of the Prison Barge and attempting to escape back to his basestar.

THE WEST WING - Patomic - Bartlet's secretary buys her first car ever and on the way back to the White House to show it off and let Bartlet kick the tires for her as good luck, she is hit6 and killed by a drunk driver.

THE WEST WING - Two Cathedrals - at the funeral for his secretary, Bartlet challenges God by telling him he does not believe in God for what he did to her. The last scene leaves viewers to wonder if he will announce his bid to run for a second term.

#13 of 46 DeWilson

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Posted December 19 2007 - 07:21 AM

I've watched too much television is my 40+ years to pick just one moment! Posted Image

#14 of 46 Hollywoodaholic

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Posted December 19 2007 - 08:12 AM

A lot of people are picking multiple moments, which is cool. There's no pressure to find that one defining moment, Denny. I was just trying to start a thread where TV fans could write something, short or long, whatever, about a show or episode that may have inspired them or that they'd never forget.

Some of the pieces so far are right on and make me want to check those shows out: The noir Moonlighting episodes. The Magnum P.I. episode (I missed the whole series partying that decade; same with Falcon Crest). And that's part of the point. I think one of the most gratifying things for TV fans is when we turn another fan onto a show they might not be familiar with, and they check it out and ... kapow - they get it, too. That West Wing cathedral scene: Knocked me out. Opie killing the bird on The Andy Griffth Show: I was the same age at the time; it scared me to the core (Was it a sling shot? I don't think I touched one ever again).

We're all addicts for moments of entertainment lightning on TV, so thanks for the ones already shared, and let's hear some more.

#15 of 46 jacktripper1

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Posted December 19 2007 - 09:01 AM

I believe that finale episodes would be the ones for me.

1. Three's Company
2. Mary Tyler Moore Show
3. Golden Girls
4. Cheers
5. Fresh Prince of Bel Air
6. Family Tie "I'm sorry, Alex doesn't live here anymore"
7. Good Times
8. Married With Children
9. Full House
10. The Nanny
11. Dick Van Dyke Show
12. Andy Griffith Show

They're a bit scrambled up but thats them.

#16 of 46 Matt.Koz

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Posted December 19 2007 - 09:29 AM

The episode of Diff'Rent Strokes where Gordon Jump played the child molesting bicycle store owner haunts me to this day.

#17 of 46 Katherine_K

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Posted December 19 2007 - 09:35 AM

Mine... aren't always the most traditional choices for some of these series.

ER - Blizzard (Season 1 Episode 10)
It's been on so long, so it can be difficult to really remember how radical this show was when it first aired. I remember watching this episode for the first time and being absolutely blown away by how fast things were going by and how much chaos could be brought down in just a one hour show. I think this was the episode where I really understood that the rules had changed for medical drama.

West Wing - What Kind of Day Has It Been? (Season 1 Episode 22)
In the Shadow of Two Gunmen: Part 1 & 2 (Season 2 Episode 1-2)

This arc of three shows just rips me to pieces every time I watch it, no matter how much I know what is coming. I always have to remind myself to breath again as the credit's come on to "who's been hit, who's been hit?!"

Battlestar Galactica - 33 (Season 1 Episode 1)
For sheer exaustian just watching it, this one takes the cake. The driving desperation of it, the feeling that these people were just never going to sleep...

CSI - A Bullet Runs Through It, Part 1 & 2 (Season 6 Episode 7-8)
This is not a show, or a franchise really, where I'd say there were many stand out episodes. They do a formula well, and I enjoy the series, but it's not one that IMO asks much from the actors. The pain on Brass and Curtis face as these episodes unfold is just ... undescribable.

Law & Order - Aftershock (Season 6 Episode 23)
Claire Kincaid's death. Nuff Said.

Farscape - The Way We Weren't (Season 2 Episode 5)
I don't think they could have done this episode in the first season and it just spoke so heavily of both Pilot and Aeryn's characters. The scene at the end always makes me cry.

Babylon 5 - Severed Dreams (Season 3 Episode 10)
It felt like the march of history, the midpoint in the novel that by that point I knew he was telling. The desperation when the second wave comes through and they know the station can't take anything more...

#18 of 46 Kevin L McCorry

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Posted December 19 2007 - 10:00 AM

Here are a few.

Space: 1999 - "Dragon's Domain"
Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour Show 24 (with cartoons "Long-Haired Hare", "Bully For Bugs", "Hyde and Go Tweet", and others)
Doctor Who - "City of Death"
Six Million Dollar Man - "The Bionic Woman"
The Bionic Woman - "Doomsday is Tomorrow"
Star Trek - "City On the Edge of Forever"
WKRP in Cincinnatti - Thanksgiving Turkey Drop
M*A*S*H- "Dreams", "Goodbye, Farewell, Amen"
Mary Tyler Moore Show - "Chuckles Bites the Dust"
Fawlty Towers - "Basil the Rat"
Alice - customer dies in Mel's Diner
The Fugitive - "The Judgement"
The Incredible Hulk - "The First"
Dallas - "Blast From the Past"

#19 of 46 JohnRice

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Posted December 19 2007 - 12:47 PM

I hadn't even thought about any ER episodes until Dion's post. Love's Labor Lost is most definitely memorable. There are actually a few more, though I don't remember the titles. The final episodes of Mark Green (Anthony Edwards) and Lucy Knight (Kellie Martin) are both burned in my memory.

Beyond that, and since people have been talking Outer Limits; "Warm Hands, Cold Heart" scared the stuffing out of me back in grade school.

The Buffy episode "Passion" also blew me away, and made me realize it was one hell of a serious show.

Finally, the TNG episode "The Inner Light" is still my fave.

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#20 of 46 Hank Dearborn

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Posted December 19 2007 - 02:55 PM

Uh, how about the most watched show ever, The Fugitive: The Judgment Pt. 2?





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